Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition is a hub, network and platform to address the deep disparities in education that affect young people of color and those impacted by poverty. The organization activates a broad coalition of caring community members of every background to advocate for measureable, broad based change and to apply districtwide strategies that end an achievement gap that has now extended for half a century.
Vibrant Schools is a broad based, multi race and income community that serves young people and families of color and those impacted by poverty. The coalition keeps current on curriculum, initiatives, policies and practices that impact these communities and provides platforms for deep engagement between the community and the district board and administrative leadership. The coalition attends each of the 30+ school board meetings annually, facilitates regular coalition gatherings, community wide trainings and forums and has recently developed new platforms for parents, students and communities to tell their stories.
Vibrant Schools wants to build awareness and the momentum to end the profound disparities in student treatment and achievement which has so often been defined by race and those impacted by poverty. Our goal is to prompt the district to create a plan with multiple measures that address the achievement gap and with persistent focus, end it. In this process, Vibrant Schools seeks to bring many voices to the table that are most often missing, through creative forms of expression including testimony, storytelling, and other forms of expression that speak to the realities of diverse youth and families in the school district. We look to change the culture and practices of the district that create more disparities and to reinforce districtwide culture and practices that lead to across the board excellence for every student.
How are we funded?
Vibrant Schools receives support from individual members, small businesses, and public sector grants, and private foundations. Past supporters include private supporters include over 60 individuals and nonprofit members, the Gates Foundation, the Forest and Sequoia Foundations, The Paul Glaser Foundation, the City of Tacoma Office of Equity and Human Rights and many others. Vibrant Schools is exploring developing a “social justice portfolio” with defined outcomes to build a potential investor corps that are interested in educational advances for students of color and those impacted by poverty.
Structure of Vibrant Schools
Vibrant Schools currently has a six-member steering committee that functions as a grass roots board of directors. The organization is led by a director who answers to the Steering Committee. The steering committee and director work with a coalition membership base of over 30 active members. The coalition is currently developing a “youth voice” arm focused on action through personal storytelling, and the power of witness leading to collective action.